To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2016 Issue – Straight from the Heart, ‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’ Philippians 1:7
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Philippians 1:15-18 (NIVUK): ”It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.
The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,”
As Selwyn says in his conclusion: “There was jealousy in the Early Church and there is jealousy in today’s Church too. But jealousy could not be found in Paul’s heart.”
It’s remarkable that Paul saw that our prime goal is to preach Christ – and it really doesn’t matter what the motives were for preaching the truth. However, as Selwyn points out, Paul demonstrated a very different attitude to those people who preached heresy. In Galatians 1:8, Paul writes: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”
Yet, that is what we are seeing in this day and age, there is a trend to re-interpret the gospel to match the changing social values of our culture.
In 2 Timothy 4:1-3, we hear this advice given to Timothy, by Paul: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
I believe we are living in such a time. Do you agree?